If you are following the coverage, there are two interesting things to note on your TV screen. First, except for the star gold medal finals, you only see the stands about one-third full. As in other Olympics, this is a result of the blocks of tickets granted to sponsors and partners that, for a variety of reasons, go unused. The other thing is the absence of people on the street and the beach. Security makes the difference here with over 30,000 of the 65,000 contract guards at work, just outside the venues. There are times when there are more security personnel than spectators or tourists.
Rio was simply not ready for this; Financially, politically, logistically and safety-wise, these Games have been a very difficult undertaking. However, bringing home the Gold made the spectacle better for us, the viewing public. NBC's positive coverage made it more exciting. Still there was a pall over the Games. Holding your breath for something bad to happen.
I'm happy to say, with only the closing ceremonies to go, we seem to have survived any major problems that were visible. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat happened on the field...and there were moments of each.
Doing my job from a distance was the right decision. I thought long and hard about it but my job is not being a spectator. It's wading into the deep water and finding the source of the real problems behnd the scenes. There will be another Olympic Games and whether I'm there or not, my experience and expertise can still be useful. I'll send you another note after our final wrap-up briefing next week. Let's hope it's a good one.